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Artistic Impressions

CATHERINE O’MARA
Egg tempera is Catherine O’Mara’s medium of choice. “It’s an ancient kind of painting that predates oil paints,” she says. It lends a luminous effect to paintings like this forest scene, which is typically “a close-up type of painting,” she describes. “I try to convey that you’re actually in the woods.” From $100 to $3000.

Catherine O’Mara Studio & Gallery (1968 Limberlost Rd., RR #4, Huntsville, 705-635-2093). Open by appointment. www.gallery.catherineomara.comDON THUR
Don Thur works with wood from the region—some more than 8,000 years old—crafting it into wall hangings and forms like this wooden bowl.

“My preference is to work with burls, which are abnormal growths on a tree formed by a disruption in the natural growth,” he says. “They generally yield the most startling colours and figures.” From $200 to $1800. Knots and Burls to Bowls (3077 Old Muskoka Rd., Utterson, 705-385-3454). Open by appointment. www.knotsburls.comSUZANN PARTRIDGE
“My pieces have a bit of humour in them,” says Suzann Partridge, who specializes in garden and interior sculpture. Working with stoneware clay that’s fired in a gas kiln, she says her most popular item is a leaping frog on a pole for the garden. Other nature-inspired options include owls, fountains and bird baths. From $230 to $2500.

Jon Partridge Pottery Ltd. (1016 Partridge Lane, RR# 1, Bracebridge, 705-645-8618). Open Wednesday to Saturday (from June to August); other times by chance or appointment.PENNY VARNEY
Simple and contemporary is how Penny Varney describes her original jewellery designs, which are inspired by nature and current fashion trends. Created from silver, gold or niobium, most pieces are one-of-a-kind; Varney also takes on commissions. From $60 to $600.

Penny Varney Jewellery (114 Muskoka Rd. S., Gravenhurst, 705-687-8078). Open daily from May to October.SIMON BISLEY
“I’m known for my strong colours,” says Simon Bisley of his hand-blown glass work. For 20 years, the artist has been fashioning everything from perfume bottles to drinking goblets and decorative bowls. “They’re colourful, functional and fun,” he says. Catch a glimpse of Bisley at work—demonstrations take place throughout the summer. From $230 to $2500.

Simon Bisley Glass (1888 Falkenburg Rd., RR#6, Bracebridge, 705-764-1376). Open Tuesday to Sunday.

GO BEHIND THE SCENES Now in its 29th year, the Muskoka Autumn Studio Tour is the oldest of its kind in Canada. Held September 29 and 30, the free, self-guided tour showcases 24 local artists and artisans (including the five featured above), who provide a glimpse into the creative process by demonstrating everything from glass-blowing to jewellery-making. Call 705-687-6521 or see www.muskoka.com/tour to download a map.—Michelle Villett

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